Friday, June 15, 2012

All the Weddings We Didn't Have (and a request for help!)

Our group of friends this year who are getting married is really varied.  They are mostly my friends - two from law school, one from my college dorm, one from my hockey team, and one cousin - and so unlike the year that we got married, when 6 of our friends did as well - with fairly similar weddings - these are all the weddings that I talked about wanting and thought about having but didn't actually get to throw.

This year, we seem to have been invited to All the Weddings We Didn't Have (and really, couldn't have).  The carnival wedding (complete with pony rides), the small intimate wedding with only 65 people; the beautiful outdoor wedding at Cylburn Arboretum (not that I don't love our own nature center); the really really fun, but still unbelievably classy, wedding; the camping wedding; and also, the potluck wedding.  

What's fun about this is that we get to go to all of these weddings and really enjoy ourselves, and because I loved our own wedding so much, I'm not thinking about what might have been.
My real question though, that I need your help with, is this - what do I bring to a potluck wedding?  I want to bring something classy, but it also has to be completely non-perishable, because we are camping the night before with no refrigeration.  I'm thinking some kind of upgraded chips and salsa - like those delicious flatbread things with a tapenade, except I don't really like tapenade, and I feel like I usually see it in the refrigerated section.  It cannot require any electricity to assemble (otherwise, I would make white-bean-pesto-dip).  Is there any kind of hummus that I don't need to refrigerate?  We do own a small cooler, but every time I try to bring a cooler of stuff, everything ends up wet and soggy.  Any advice?  Usually we just fill our cooler with ice packs, but I'm thinking a big bag of ice from the store would be better? How long can I keep hummus in a cooler for?  Do you think it's like, 12 hours, or closer to 24?

I could also make a few loaves of homemade bread and serve it with butter - I am afraid that the butter might melt, but if we bring a cooler and keep it cold overnight, since you can keep butter at room temperature, I'm less worried about perishability.  If the butter is soft, I could even mix it with herbs at the last minute and serve it that way.  Perhaps a spice mix with olive oil would make a nice alternative dip to the butter? (I believe there will be vegans present.)

Does anybody have any better ideas?  Must be vegetarian!  Are there any canned or jarred foods or salsas that are classy?  I'm not even looking for anything that classy, but the people throwing the wedding aren't big on super-processed food, so no velveeta or helluvagood dip.


  1. trader Joe's cookie butter and oreo thins. no refrigeration required. or, make some kind of yummy trail mix like Monster Mix from target. or, fresh bread is always awesome. i just made an awesome corn and blueberry salad and it was an oil based dressing, so while it certainly tastes better cold, i don't think the health requirements are the same as it would be if it were a mayo based salad. if you want, I can send you the recipe.
    and, yes, ice bags from the grocery store are always better. things stay cold for days. keep a can of soda in there to gauge how cold it is.

  2. also, sprite/lemonade/dragonberry rum!

    1. cooking light magazine this month has a lot of summer dishes that might work for this wedding.

  3. I always make this french bread for anything I have to bring a dinner/potluck-y food to, and everyone always loves it. The best thing in this situation, I think, is that you could bring a few different kinds of jam, honey or nut butter, unopened, and they wouldn't have to be refrigerated-- and butter, which you could keep on ice!

    Quick French Bread

    3 cups warm water
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon salt
    3 tablespoons instant yeast
    5-7 cups all purpose flour (depending on your altitude and humidity)

    Add water, sugar, yeast and salt together and stir.

    Stir in 3 cups flour with a wooden spoon, then add one cup more at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Some flour should be left over in the bottom of the bowl.

    Turn dough onto a well floured surface. Coat hands and the dough with more flour to prevent any sticking and shape the dough into an oval. Cut into 3 pieces and working quickly, either roll the dough between your hand or gently pull on it to form long loaf shapes.

    Lay each loaf into a well greased pan.

    You can spray with salted water if you want it crispier. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown in a 400 degree oven.

    I have this baguette pan and it is stellar:{keyword}

    But you can also make this on a greased cookie sheet! The bread will flatten out more and not be as defined as a baguette shape, but it will taste just as delicious.

    This is my mom's recipe, and it's the easiest bread to make, ever. Even if you don't make it for this potluck, you should totally try it sometime-- it's delicious. :)

    Also, I love your blog-- sorry it took a bread recipe for me to come out of the woodwork and actually comment! ;)

  4. If you can wait to assemble until within a couple hours before the wedding, then you have lots of options -- no refrigeration required!

    Guacamole and chips! Just bring a bowl, a knife, and a cutting board, and the ingredients, all of which can sit out overnight. Not sure how big this group is, but I recommend 4 ripe avocadoes, one red onion, two limes, a handful of cilantro (if you like cilantro), and salt. Scoop out the avocado, chop up the onion, squeeze out the two limes, and mash everything together. If not serving immediately, keep the avocado pits and lime peels in the bowl and cover everything with plastic wrap placed directly over the guacamole.

    Now that I'm on an avocado kick, you could also do some kind of avocado crostini. Bring French bread to slice, some avocadoes, some shelled pistachios, olive oil, and salt -- delicious. You could also use the French bread and make a bruschetta of tomatoes, garlic, and basil (add chopped olives and rosemary to make it slightly more unusual).

    A raw veggie or fruit salad could also work. All depends on how much time you have to chop! You would not need ice or even a cooler for any of these things if you can wait until day-of to assemble.

  5. I'm not helpful in terms of the food, but I would suggest something that might help withthe sogginess factor in the coolers. Instead of getting bags of ice, get some of those pouch-like things that stay in the freezer. I like the pouch like ones because as they get softer, they mold to whatever's in the cooler, but they also make the hard ones. (I'm sorry, I don't really know how to describe them except to say that they're kind of permanent freezer packs; you put them in the cooler and whenever you get home or whatever, they go back in the freezer until the next time you need to use them.) They don't sweat as much as the ice, and you don't have to worry about them leaking and getting everything soggy.

  6. What about some fancy kind of fruit salad. Don't just go with melons, add some kiwi or other exotic fruit.